POETICS OF THE GAZE AND THE IDENTITY

BAT Alberto Cornejo, Moret Art, Zielinsky and Jorge Alcolea Galleries

 

If there is something especially captivating about the portrait genre, that it is the gaze. For some time the importance of the characters portrayed does not reside exclusively in symbols of power but in the ability to capture psychological essence achieved by the portraitist, being precisely the gaze that gives the portrayed greater psychic depth. In addition, when, the eyes of the portrayed figure look directly at the spectator, there is an astonishing tension, a kind of restlessness that requires dialogue, which exhibits provocation. The power of the gaze seems eternal as if it had a greater consistency able to expose the contained intimacies.

José Ramón Lozano

Sin Título (VI), 2019

Acrylic on fabric

170 x 190cm

However, if the gaze can reflect a person's state of mind in an exceptional way, it can also hide it, make it confusing and inaccessible to external eyes that try to penetrate it. To identify or not to identify, the gaze expresses at the same time unique beings for some, similar ones to others, transcendental or insignificant. Both from the moral and aesthetic standpoint, those portrayed who look at us, who look at us in reality from our contemplation of the present, create a direct tension with the past and identity. Always with a cryptic like air, as the portrait prooves what we shall never be, what we are at the time that the photograph was taken or the portrait was painted, that sense of Barthes’ "this has been", these images are predicting our end.

Lantomo

Dim light-dark sea 1, 2019

Grafito y pastel sobre papel encolado a madera

100 x 73cm

Within the great proposal of the BAT Gallery Alberto Cornejo (Madrid) what precisely stands out is the portraiture genre. The women portrayed by José Ramón Lozano usually look at us very consciously, almost demanding that we contemplate and finish the story that they themselves have opened. They have something memorable, a turning point in a possible story of internalized solitude so often accompanied by pain. Very different are the portraits of Lantomo (Antonella Montes), more intimate, more reserved. While the use of graphite, watercolour and pastel is one of the reasons that explains that the figures acquire these characteristics, so is the fact that their characters do not always look at us, but are absorbed in their thoughts and do not require the empathy of the observer.

Mária Švarbová

No Diving, Smykacka, 2016

Photography

70 x 70cm

Marta Sánchez Luengo

Llegará, 2016

Bronze and iron

102 x 121cm

Another of the most outstanding portrait artists of our times is Mária Švarbová, a photographer from which the BAT gallery will present a selection of their individual and collective portraits. We attend the portrait of childhood and the beginning of adolescence in stages of meticulous harmony, of bodies so perfect and similar that touch the dreamlike fiction. On the other hand, the figures included by Marta Sánchez Luengo In their sculptures are much more than natural and close, they are realistic. In fact, their naturalistic way of modelling and the attitudes of their characters, as every day as reading a book, waiting for the underground or just walking around thinking, can certainly remind us of the realists from Madrid and especially of some pieces by the master Julio López Hernández. Leticia Felgueroso’s works could also relate to the realists because they share the passion for portraying the city of Madrid, although in the case of Felgueroso is through photography and intervened chromaticism.

Gustavo Díaz Sosa

De la serie de Revelaciones y Encrucijadas, 2019

Técnica mixta sobre madera. Cara A

200 x 140cm

In this daily work proper of the great metropolises, the contemporary society is also exposed very well: multitudes of people who move on full of worries and anxieties, between haste, jams and "deadlines". This guided mass is a topic that Gustavo Díaz Sosa tends to reflect in series such as "Burócratas y Padrinos", "Huérfanos de Babel" or the most recent "Revelaciones y Encrucijadas". The imposed social behaviours also removed from natural impulses, is a subject that also concerns Rubén Martín de Lucas, of whom a selection of the series "The Garden of Fukuoka" is presented, work in which the Guest Artist of this edition confronts industrial and natural processes.

The BAT proposal closes with the all rounded shapes of the sculptures by Carlos Albert and Carlos Iglesias, Madrid successors of the Basque School of sculpture; the most fluid and sensual works in aluminium by Rafael Amarós; and the matter and lyrical abstractions of Fernando Palacios.

Lino Lago

Fake Abstract (F. Boucher), 2019

Oil on fabric

160 x 150cm

Daniel Sueiras

Sir Kristoff Tar Toffen the 3rd, 2019

Oil on board

93 x 80cm

Watch and reveal, play with what is hidden and what is shown, is a very particular feature of the Lino Lago portraits, an artist who participates in Art Madrid with the Moret Art gallery (A Coruña). This gallery will also present some of the latest works by Daniel Subeiras, such as the painting "Sir Kristoff Tar Toffee the 3rd" (2019), where the author introduces us to the new addition to his ingenious and extensive gallery of portraits, notable for its humorous component and by his masterful control of the oil-on-board technique. Along with the work of Subeiras, a selection of the sculptural work by Iván Prieto is presented: pieces made from its technical characteristic-ceramics after painted with acrylics-in which contemporary bodies, always defective, without abandoning the crave of an impossible and imposed perfection, they are exaggeratedly distorted to the point of reaching surrealistic, extravagant, more beautiful forms.

Xurxo Gómez-Chao

Magnolia y calavera (Tempus fugit), 2018

Fotografía. Pigmentos minerales sobre papel Ilford Prestige 270 g

100 x 100cm

Moret Art will also include in its proposal the pieces by Miguel Piñeiro, contemporary still lifes of icons from the culture of our time, especially surprising for the high degree of hyperrealism; and the photographs by Xurxo Gómez-Chao, of which two of his lines of work are presented: on the one hand, a set of the beautiful vanitas stagings, and on the other, his more mystery images of rooms, in which a kind of mist seems to have evaporated the previous presence.

Pachi Santiago

Cerca desde lo masculino, 2012

Caja de luz

42.5 x 32.5cm

Juan Fielitz

Desnudo III, 2018

Papel Hahnemühle

120 x 74cm

Within the proposal of the Zielinsky Gallery (Barcelona) it is worth highlighting the work of Pachi Santiago, artist who offers the most explicit game around identity, gaze, codes of representation and appropriation, as we see in the broad project "Copying Claudia", in which the spectator can take part in the same feelings. The appropriation, manipulation and interest in the ways of portraying the human body, is something that he shares with the artist Juan Fielitz who, on the opposite, hides the faces or body parts that we would like to see from the portrayed. Thus, in these images collected in archives, the artist stripped the portrayed of his identity, offering in his final photomontages a poetic ensemble of enigmatic fragments.

Yamandú Canosa

Vértice, 2016

Oil on wood

47.2 x 40cm

Zielinsky will also expose the photographs by Eduardo Marco, in which an attentive and contemplative look allows us to repair in the beauty that so often goes unnoticed in the big city; surreal and pop worlds, full of winks in which to recognize ourselves, by Joaquín Lalanne; and the cartographies by Yamandú Canosa, metaphors of our being, of our way of living: at the end portraits of emotions that explain our displacement.

Eloy Morales

Figure 1, 2018

Oil on canvas

100 x 100cm

Some gazes are unique, such as those achieved by Eloy Morales in his huge portraits and self-portrait, that the Jorge Alcolea gallery will show. As the artist explains, for him "the important thing is to show through the work your way of seeing things and the way you present them to the spectator" always maintaining a deep concern for "the tremendous power of the image and its endless possibilities." Other gazes, equally interesting and perhaps more unfathomable, are those from the animal world, some like the bears that star in the latest works by Miguel Macalla.

Isidre Tolosa

Diarios, carpeta y libros, 2018

Mármol de calatorao y hierro

11 x 30cm

Jorge Alcolea's proposal is completed with the urban and nocturnal portraits by Carlos Azañedo, those in which the postmodern city never stops never sleeps and each one of us is only "another one". Also in its stand you will be able to see the realistic sculptures by Isidre Tolosa, personal objects like books or diaries that, likewise, can be the best portraits of ourselves because of everything so personal that they reveal; and the paintings by Isabel Ramoneda, free and careless abstractions on paper accompanied by handwritten thoughts.

Multiple gazes for multiple identities; always open works, eternally expectant in front of the possible gaze of the spectator: these are some of the works that can be enjoyed in the new edition of Art Madrid.

 

Among the specialised professional profiles that we find in the cultural sector, and more specifically, in the field of visual arts, one of the most recent occupations is that of the curator. The ‘80s put attention on the role of the artist, with its innovative character and the enhancement of its figure as an essential articulator of creative proposals, while the end of the century moved the interest towards the exhibition centres themselves and their work as custodians of current production and as spaces to accommodate all proposals. The change of millennium strongly introduced in this panorama the role of the curator. Perhaps together with a social identity crisis, perhaps with the complexity that contemporary projects are currently acquiring, the need for building, articulating and delving into artistic discourses became evident.

Although the functions entrusted to this profession are not entirely new, since previously they belonged to conservatives, critics or experts according to the themes, the role has gained solidity because it combines all these purposes while allowing the specialisation of other professionals in their fields of competence. Now, as some curators themselves point out, the genuine spirit of this figure, who was born to facilitate the understanding of the discourse, create narratives within a sometimes chaotic and scattered context, mediate between the works and the spectator and create bridges between contemporary art and society.

The art of our day raises a multitude of unknowns for the visitor who must face proposals many times away from the aesthetic standards, which gives way to uncertainty and confusion; but, in turn, these works employ a closer language, materials and even compositions detached from the sophistication and the technical display of yesteryear, something that, far from favouring proximity to the message, generates some distancing. What we have just described is part of the very essence of current art. The questioning of the formalist guidelines and the recourse to tangible elements that are more utilitarian than embellishing are the new criteria of creation, where, above all, the message to be conveyed stands out.

Likewise, another inherent characteristic of the work of our time is the artists' concern for more immediate themes, for social, political and economic issues that seek to create a narrative and conceptual revulsion, leaving behind the aesthetic priority or, rather, making of the message its own aesthetic. In this context, strange as it may seem, contemporary creation encounters a linguistic barrier hindering the viewer's understanding. And to this circumstance, the abundant current production is added, covering a wide range of themes that are nothing more than a transcript of our diverse and globalised society.

The curator helps to facilitate this understanding by articulating a coherent discourse that allows the grouping of related ideas to set up the message. This requires to have an in-depth knowledge of the current state of the art, the lines of work of the creators, the most recent aesthetic proposals and the real demands of society to bridge the dialogue and allow the approach to art. If art deals with the same issues that concern us all, how can we not share its postulates? Cultural mediation requires the work of the curators to open a small window for reflection and to enable a space for exchange and idea generation. We share the thought that José Guirao expressed in a recent interview: "The curator is someone who reveals something new, and it would be a mistake for curators to become managers."

Understood this way curator’s role, many institutions have joined the trend of creating specific calls for new professionals to give light to their proposals. Let us remember, as an example, the call "Unpublished" of La Casa Encendida, or "Curator wanted", of the Community of Madrid or the call of Curating of La Caixa.